Now keep in mind here that your local R2K minister insists that the kind of political action that finds legislators passing laws that are born of the Christian faith is a great sin. Legislators, per R2K, are to appeal to Natural law and not Biblical law for their attempted legislating. Can you imagine the heart attack that R2K political super-hero Sen. Ben Sasse would have over this proposed legislation?
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, monolatry (also called monolatrism) is the worship of only one god without denying the existence of other gods. Henotheism is related in that it recognizes many gods yet chooses to focus exclusively on one—usually considered the god of one’s family or clan. A monolater or a henotheist is committed to one god, but he leaves room for other deities as well. Many cultures in ancient times believed in more than one god, but some of those cultures still paid homage to one god above the others. This would often work itself out in the belief that as one traveled from one geographic area to another one would be leaving the god of the previous geographic area and entering into the domain of a different god over the different geographic area.
The accusation in this entry is that R2K is a twist on monolatry inasmuch as while it worships the one true God in the church realm it advocates the henotheistic idea that when one leaves the church realm for the common realm one leaves the explicit God of the bible and his authority in favor of the implicit god of Natural law and its authority. Now, we are quite aware that R2K would be appalled by this characterization but that does not make the observation and accusation any less true. Usually the lady doth protest too much the closer one gets to the truth about the lady protesting.
If an aspect of henotheism/monolatry is that there are different gods over different geographic areas then how much of a stretch is it to see R2K with its “God rules by His right hand in the grace realm but rules by his left hand in the common realm,” as just a dodgy way of saying, “When we are operating in the realm of grace we deal with God and His word but when we operate in the common realm we are dealing with another god (we could call him ‘Lefty’ since he rules by his left hand) and his unique natural law but in order to cover this up we will argue that the god of this realm (Lefty) is really the same god as God even though he isn’t because if we explicitly said he isn’t then we would be obviously guilty of spatial (as opposed to geographic) henotheism/monolatry.”
Certainly, this observation is not a stretch in the slightest. If God’s character is defined by His law, the changing out of God’s law in the common realm for a Natural law as existing in the common realm that is distinct from God’s law in the realm of grace what other conclusion can we come to that we have a different god and so an example of spatial henotheism/monolatry?
Spatial henotheists/monolatrists would never expressly admit that they affirm the existence of another god but at least it strikes me that in a defacto sense that is precisely what they are doing. If I am restricted while in the grace realm from speaking as a minister from the pulpit the will of the God of the church/grace realm for the common realm because by doing so I would be violating both the law of God of the church/grace realm as well as the natural law of god of the common realm what else can this be except a type of spatial henotheism/monolatry?
One has to wonder if the spatial (as opposed to geographic) henotheists/monolatrists are in violation of the second commandment?
“You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
Have the spatial henotheists/monolatrists in the Reformed Church created a pantheon of gods that are to be respected depending upon which spatial realm one finds one’s self in?
1.) David Van Drunen, the malevolent genius behind R2K was trained at a Jesuit Educational Institution where he learned the classical Roman Catholic philosophical divide between nature and grace. He then, quite obviously took that Thomist divide learned at his Jesuit Roman Catholic school and created a Reformed expression of it in his creation of R2K.
Personally, I am of the conviction that one cannot be Christian and R2K even if their Reformed soteriology is perfect.
2.) R2K teaches that Education, Law, Politics, Art, etc. are all common realm phenomena that are ruled by Natural law. However, if one pauses to think about this just a moment one realizes that these (Education, Law, Politics, Art, Family, etc.) are abstractions. These things do not exist concretely apart from people as Educators, Lawyers/Judges, Politicians/legislators, Artists. So, R2K, concretely speaking is teaching that men as lawyers/judges, men as Educators, men as Artists, etc. are not to be governed by God’s revealed Word. These flesh and blood people are not to be guided in their respective fields by God’s special revelation but instead are, in agreement and consultation with concrete Hindu Educators, Jew Judges, Atheist Artists, and Satanist Legislators to come to a consensus on natural law ao that they as Christians can be governed by in these respective fields.
Such Princeton Tower Club “thinking” is shocking and yet our pulpits are filled today with morons who are touting this god-forsaken theory as truth.
3.) R2K is a theology perfectly cast to avoid confrontation with Idolatry and false religions. Whereas earlier Missionaries would challenge the false gods in public demonstrations R2K says, “The idols in the common realm are not to be addressed and defied by the Institutional Church since that would be to get clergy out of their lanes.”
R2K is heresy. When is some denomination going to stand up and say “R2K is heresy?”
4.) R2K teaches that the Jurisdiction of King Jesus and His revealed word is limited to the Church realm. Any Jurisdiction that King Jesus has in the common realm is present by a common grace, a common providence, and a common (Natural) law. R2K thus is teaching that in the common realm Jesus has delegated His rule to an abstraction called Natural law.
5.) R2K teaches that there exists a statist orthodoxy as taught in Government schools that the Church Institutional should not raise its voice against even when the statist orthodoxy is contrary to Christian orthodoxy.
6.) R2K loves to talk about a common kingdom where people of all faiths meet and have social intercourse around a common set of shared values as all based on Natural law.
However, the problem here is increasingly clear. As sodomites are now marrying and adopting children, as queers show up for Drag Queen story hour to read to our children, as women have to compete against biological men in women’s sports, where is this so-called common realm where Christians can enter into a common kingdom?
Clearly, the R2K project has never existed in a time where its fruit is seen to be more absent. Natural law as defined by R2K as a governing mechanism upon which law orders for whole peoples has never more gloriously failed than the failure it is undergoing now and yet there is David Van Drunen, Mike Horton, D. G. Hart, and R. Scott Clark still thumping for it like they have concrete examples where R2K has worked as positioned in Christ-hating social orders. There they are all thumping for R2K like adolescents for the first time having a young pretty thing speak pretty things in their ears.
If this is true (and it is) why are R2K churches and ministers still being supported?
Get out, before you experience a Sodom and Gomorrah type of visitation from God.
7.) In the way that R2K treats the Bible, the Bible becomes ecclesiasticized — trapped inside the four walls of the Church — and even there the Bible is not allowed to speak to public square issues outside the Church.
8.) Because R2K insists that the Institutional Church is not allowed to speak to civil Institutions such as education, family, law, arts, international relations, etc. the consequence is that Christians attending R2K churches become bipolar in their thinking. In the Church realm, they are Christian but in the so-called secular realm (a realm created and sustained by R2K type thinking) the Christian can be a humanist in education, a Sharia fan in law, or even a polygamist in family life. If God’s word does not speak to the common realm as stated from the pulpit then the laity may come to any conclusion they like in these realms as long as they can in some creative way attach their positions to Natural law.
9.) When God’s word is ecclesiasticized so that it cannot be applied to all of life (per R2K) the Church immediately becomes politicized as the laity become vectors for various humanist thinking diseases that descend from theologies and gods that are not Christian.
So, R2K’s attempt to cordon God’s special Revelation from every area of life finally leads to a politicized church where each member votes and advocates and does in the public square what is best in his own eyes.
10.) R2K excels at thumping the formal authority of the bible. This is the authority that teaches the infallible, verbal plenary inspiration of the Bible. However, R2K fails in embracing the material authority of the Bible. This is the authority of the Bible wherein its applicability to all of life is embraced. Another way of saying this is that R2K holds the Bible as abstractly authoritative but it is horrid in concrete application.
11.) Whenever R2K starts up with the idea that there is no such thing as “Christian stir-fry,” or “Christian plumbing,” or “Christian diaper-changing,” they are at that point advocating, contrary to Christian thinking, that there is indeed such a thing as neutrality. R2K when it argues this way is saying in essence, “See, all of the common square is neutral and so we should not insist on Christian law, or Christian Education, or Christian family, seeing those matters as just as neutral as stir-fry, diaper changing, and plumbing.
First, we should note that suggesting that Christian law does not exist because Christian diaper changing does not exist is a leap of magnificent proportions that only a very stupid person could make.
Second, we would argue that there is such a thing as a Christian diaper changer. Imagine if non-Christian parents changing out dirty diapers didn’t apply diaper rash medicine with the result that the child in the diaper is miserable having a severely burned bottom. Would that baby complain, if he could, about his parents not practicing Christian diaper changing? Would not failing to apply diaper rash medicine in the context of changing the diaper not be a violation of the 6th commandment?
Neutrality is a myth and that is as true about diaper changing, plumbing, and stir-fry as it is about Law, Education, and Business.
12.) R2K cuts off the story of Redemption with Christ crucified. They fail to see that the resurrection, ascension, and session of the Lord Christ continue the Redemption narrative in terms of absolute Kingship. Jesus Christ is not only our Great High Priest but He is also a Great High Priest who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords over every principality and power. To give a Gospel that so wrongly centers on the Crucifixion so that it only tells the story of a dis-empowered Great High Priest who is not ruling as the Mediatorial King as very God of God is to do a great disservice to both our soteriology and our doctrine of Jesus Mediatorial Kingship.
R2K gives us a Jesus who is a Gnostic King. In R2K thinking Jesus rules over our spiritual lives but Jesus dare not flex His authority in culture, family, education, law, politics, etc. R2K has divorced Jesus’s office of Priest from His office as King. That is a grave sin when pointed out and still continued in.
13.) In our sins we seek to alienate God’s creation from Him. R2K “theology” supports our work of alienating God’s creation from Him as R2K refuses to allow Christians to be Christ’s Kingdom people joining in the work, under Christ’s Kingship, of taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. In R2K every thought is not brought captive because many thoughts are never intended to be brought captive and as such, all of creation remains alienated from God. R2K turns Christ’s Kingship into the Kingship wherein His people don’t live and move and have their being in light of Christ’s ascension and session and as such God’s creation remains alienated from Him except in some Gnostic sense.
There is some irony here for those with eyes to see. The Reformed world is not caught between the hammer of R2K and the anvil of Alienist Cultural Marxist “theonomy” as promoted by the likes of Joel McDurmon (he of “the oldest law student in America” fame) and his hacks over at “The Lamb’s Reign.” On the one hand, the uber Amillennial R2K teaches, as seen by Mike’s quote above, “... it’s a good thing that we no longer live in an era where Christianity is a culture,” while the uber postmillennial Alienist Cultural Marxist “theonomy” teaches CRT, WOKE, and Intersectionality. Indeed for the Alienist Cultural Marxist “theonomists,” any cultural era preceding the CRT era was not Christian. So, boiling it down the amil R2K hammer lads are telling us that “it’s good Christian culture is gone,” while the postmil Cultural Marxist theonomists anvil lads are telling us that “only Cultural Marxist culture is Christian.” Not surprisingly Biblical Christians respond with, “a pox upon both your houses.”
“If you believe some people on the internet today, R2K theology is the antichrist. They want their neo-Kuyperianism unchallenged over the Reformed world today. But is radical Two Kingdoms so antithetical to the Gospel and to the Reformed faith?”
As a Rabbi (per Darryl Gnostic Hart) I think I can speak to this.
Is R2K (when I will get some royalties for coining that phrase?) antithetical to the Gospel and the Reformed faith? Well, it depends on what you mean by “antithetical.” If you are asking whether or not R2K in the abstract is antithetical to the Gospel, in the Gospel’s narrow sense, then I would have to say “no.” If you are asking whether or not R2K is antithetical to Christianity in Christianity’s broadest sense, then it would depend upon which discussion I was most recently in.
The Reformed faith has ALWAYS been a comprehensive and totalistic world and life view. If you question this pick up the “Calvin in the Public Square” series by David Hall or Joe Boot’s “Mission of God.” R2K denies that the Christian faith is comprehensive and totalistic with its denial that grace impinges upon nature. R2k has a Gospel that justifies the abstracted individual and champions a Gospel that is denuded of its public square implications. Can the Church speak on Cultural Marxism in the public square? R2K says …
“No, the Church can not speak against the enemy that is trying to kill Christianity, as Cultural Marxism saturates the public square for that would be impious to do so.”
Rev. K writes,
One could argue that the R2K theology is simply trying to rid the Gospel of all the accretions to the gospel that have been trying to creep in unawares. When I read Michael Horton, for instance, I see a man who is trying with all his might to keep the Gospel the Gospel and to forbid anything else from encroaching on the territory of the Gospel. That’s his heart. I know it is.
And one could argue that R2K is simply trying to rid Christianity from declaiming against the sins of the zeitgeist so that large Church Presbyterianism can be achieved again. When I read Michael Horton I read a man with the best of intentions but who just does not understand that the Gospel can’t be abstracted from a Christian world and life view.
Rev. K writes,
Ultimately, why would such vitriol be leveled against R2K folk?
Rabbi Bret responds,
You mean the kind of vitriol that says “Don’t trust Dr. Kloosterman”? You mean the kind of vitriol that finds D. G. Hart character assassinating me every time I turn around? You mean the kind of vitriol that Meredith Kline splashed around against Dr. Greg Bahnsen?
“With its gifted and energetic leadership, this movement held the promise of great good. The tragedy of Chalcedon is that of high potential wasted – worse than wasted, for its most distinctive and emphatically maintained thesis is a delusive and grotesque perversion of the teaching of Scripture.”
You mean the kind of vitriol that had T. David Gordon saying,
“It (Theonomy) is not merely the view of the unwise, but the view of the never-to-be-wise, because it is the view of those who wrongly believe that scripture sufficiently governs this arena, and who, for this reason, will never discover in the natural constitution of the human nature or the particular circumstances of given peoples what must be discovered to govern well and wisely.”
And what shall we say of the vitriol of a formerly popular blog referenced above?
But hey … Theological controversy always makes vitriol the number one drink in the saloon, and as such, I don’t mind much – water off a duck’s back and all that – except when the vitriol flingers complain and whine about vitriol being flung about.
Rev. K. offered,
Aren’t the matters concerning church and state secondary to the Gospel?
Not, if the State by its policy is seeking to wipe out Christianity. This is the reality that we are in, in America right now.
Rev. K says,
If they aren’t secondary, then I would argue that one side has made the Gospel something much bigger than it actually is. Church-state relations are secondary matters, not primary. And that should be true whether one is R2K or Neo-Kuyperian. I do not see the same kind of vitriol coming from the R2K guys against Neo-Kuyperianism, with the possible exception of Darryl Hart, and even he is a lot more light-hearted (Harted?) than most people credit him.
Rabbi Bret responds,
When the State becomes the idol du jour, seeking to be God walking on the earth then the law that is the red hot needle that pulls through the scarlet thread of the Gospel must inveigh against the idol state that people might repent of their sin and embrace the God of the Bible. A people infatuated with the God state will always reinterpret Christianity in light of the God State and so Church and State become a major issue to the Gospel because it is the idol that must go.
Rev. K. offers,
Also, I don’t trust Nelson Kloosterman anymore. He has written an encomium on the back of a book that defends Norman Shepherd. He has always been a Klaas Schilder fan. I think Kloosterman is soft on FV issues.
Was Schilder ever disciplined as a heretic? Has Kloosterman ever been disciplined as a heretic?
Rev. K. writes,
Regardless of what one thinks of Kloosterman, I don’t think this board should tolerate accusations against the R2K guys of distorting the Gospel. I think we have been generally pretty careful about this. But I would especially exhort the Neo-Kuyperians among us- why are you posting what you are posting? Is this going to promote understanding or polarization? We have much to learn from the R2K guys. I think especially Neo-Kuyperians have much to learn from R2K folks. If only there could be open minds.
I have nothing to learn from R2K theologians when they are in their R2K mode.
This is why the Green Baggins blog has always been such a joke.
Rev. K. writes
The main reason I am saying this is that Neo-Kuyperianism has had pretty much a free reign in Reformed circles during the last century. And yet, Van Drunen does offer significant evidence that 2K theology was much more prominent in the Reformation eras than it is today. This is a strand of Reformed thinking, not just Lutheran thinking. We need to give this a fair hearing, and vitriol against the 2K position isn’t going to help matters. Remember this Proverb (18:13): “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” There’s a lot of that going on today on the internet.
Rabbi Bret responds,
Dr. Venema has exposed the problems with Dr. Van Drunnen’s book and some of the errant conclusions he reaches regarding past eras. Dr. James Anderson has exposed the contradictory problems w/ Dr. Van Drunnen’s book. Dr. John Frame has exposed the errors in Dr. Van Drunen’s book. Dr. Keith Mathison, speaking for Ligonier has raised some serious (and I think unanswerable) questions regarding Van Drunen’s book. Dr. Mark Dever’s interview with Dr. Van Drunen exposes the folly of R2K, and that quite without even trying. Dr Brad Littlejohn has done a fine expose of the problems with Van Drunen.
Legions are the problems that have been exposed regarding R2K by good men and for the most part silence in answering those critiques have been the response.
R2K … Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin.